Dear Abby: I’m struggling with finding a way to study for all my tests because each way I try never works, and it’s so stressful….

Dear Abby Prompt: I’m struggling with finding a way to study for all my tests because each way I try never works and it’s so stressful….


Dear Struggling,

I know what you’re going through; you spend hours a night studying for class and you feel like you’re starting to understand it. The night before your unit test, you’re feeling good, you’ve got this. Maybe you even feel this way when your teacher puts the test paper down on your desk. You feel just as good turning it in. You’ve worked hard and studied for countless nights, so it only makes sense that your grade reflects that, right? 

That may not always be the case. You could dedicate hours to studying and still not see the results you want to. I’ve been where you are, and I know it sucks. The shining light at the end of this seemingly dark tunnel is the possibility of an improved grade. Here are some tips that’ll be your tour guides through the dark!

The first thing you should do is go over your tests and your graded homework. Look at what mistakes you made and where you went wrong. Note how the right process and answer was different from what you did and what you studied. Being able to identify your mistakes helps you to not make them again. If your teacher lets you, take notes on what you did wrong and go over them when you review the content at home. 

My next tip is to go in during North Time. North Time is great for hanging out with your friends or finishing homework, but it’s even better for talking to your teachers. Talk to them about your grades, what they are and what you want them to be. Explain what your study process is and they can help you assess what works and what doesn’t. They can also suggest resources for you to get additional help outside of school and practice problems. 

Study groups are another resource you should take advantage of. In the class(es) you need help, there’s probably an established study group and, if not, start one! Get together with your friends or other kids in your class and do a study session together. It’s a great place to ask questions for concepts you don’t understand and get personalized help. You might also feel more comfortable because they’re your peers. Be careful about who you study with though because choosing your four closest friends might lead to conversation that isn’t entirely about the subject. You want to feel comfortable enough to ask questions, but make sure you can be productive!

My final tip is to get a tutor. If all the tips before this haven’t done much for you in terms of improving your grades, turn to professional help. A tutor will be able to spend lots of one-on-one time with you and they can get to know you and your study process personally. This means that they’ll also have solutions for you that can fit you and your schedule.

What you need to focus on is studying smart not studying hard because, if not, it won’t work for you even if you’re spending hours studying. You need to find what works for you and what is getting the results you want. One of these tips might be what works for you! You have to try different things and see what is the most effective. It might take a minute and you might have to try something new, but when you finally find what fits you, you’ll see the results. I know high school is hard and, honestly, it doesn’t get any easier, but I hope you’re better prepared for it with these tips. Good luck!